Monday, March 8, 2010

It Was An Advertisement For The History Channel

A few days ago we thought we had come across some phone booth takeovers. Alas we were wrong and it was only a History Channel advert. Good job guys.

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Anonymous Phone Booth in NYC

I found this image on my way to the studio today. I'm not positive it is the work of an anonymous artist but the lack of copy and strange subject matter makes me think so. If anyone knows who did this, please get in touch.

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Phonebooth Install for Dutch News

A Dutch news team followed me around last week while I installed this quick piece and another Weave It! NPA/PublicAdCampaign collaboration. I'll launch the video footage when they do and hopefully have a chance to install something out here in LA before I head back east.

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Friday, January 29, 2010


1997 was 13 years ago which reminds me I've been working on PublicAdCampaign for 10 years, doing my first subway station takeover in December of 2000. Yikes! 2010 is setting up to be a great year for us and we look forward to working with everyone in the months to come.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Brown Student Gets Up In New York City Phone Booths

Ariel Hudes, a Brown University student, contacted PublicAdCampaign about a month ago with a request. In her first email she wrote..
I'm taking a class at Brown called Radical Media ( I came across you and the Public Ad Campaign in that Times article a few weeks and have been a daily blog-reader since. I'm totally enthralled. I love what you're doing. And here comes the request...

For our first assignment "create and distribute a radical poster" I made this:
And for our final assignment "a final project that goes beyond the Brown campus"... my dream is to get it blown up... and go to ny and put it in a phone booth.
Obviously we helped her out. She came down on the 13th and off we went with two posters in hand. I put up the first one just so she could see it happen, and then it was her turn. After her first phone booth install she had a grin from ear to ear and a sense of accomplishment that was palpable. Here at PublicAdCampaign we always enjoy facilitating peoples interaction with their public environment. We are also continually impressed with how empowered it makes people feel and how it changes their entire relationship to the streets around them. Congrats Ariel!

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Monday, November 30, 2009

PosterChild Suggests A More Prudent Use Of Pay Phones In NYC

PosterChild is wrapping up his stay in NY very soon, but not before he gets out there and does a few more projects to make you think about the advertising that surrounds us and how it is altering our lives for better, or worse. His most recent project aims at making the viewer aware of the fact that the ubiquity of outdoor advertising does not have to be an entirely bad thing. In fact the millions of dollars that OOH advertisers are making off the space they are occupying in each and every one of our brains can be put to a better use than simply lining the pockets of media conglomerates. He writes...

"You know what I’d like to see? If they’re going to maintain, and even grow, the network of payphones as an advertising-revenue generating platform, then they should make all local calls free. That is the old “Contract” of advertising, after all: We shouldn’t have to be exposed to your damn ads if you’re not going to give us something back in return." More [HERE]

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I Don't Care About No Phone Booth

Someone sent me these three Brick of Gold pieces that recently hit the street in NYC. From what I understand they were up for a mere 2hr, just enough time to get some photos. There is something about the "I don't care about no phonebooth" piece that I really like. I think it's that I imagine many people would have a hard time believing it is advertising and therefore was probably successful at making the viewer question advertising's place in our public spaces. You can see more installs at The Brick of Gold website HERE.

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Najung Kim Works Over Advertising Too

A while back we were sent an image of a phone kiosk takeover done by an unknown artist. We posted it in hopes of finding out who was responsible for the fantastic work. Sure enough a few months later Najung Kim contacted us claiming responsibility. I love the fact that she uses her real name and that the image was part of a series done for James Victore's Urban Studio class at SVA. Visit Najung's site for more ad takeover images.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Exclusive New Posterboy, Decapitator Collaboration

Decapitator was in town recently taking Shakira's head off of 10 limited edition Rolling Stone magazines at the Union Square Barnes & Nobles. I was on site the next day and managed to rummage through the entire magazine section until I found one of my own, even after the Village Voice made the hunt public.

But this wasn't the only reason this artist was in town. Turns out the Decapitator had contacted PosterBoy before he came through and I met them at an undisclosed location to watch them create two collaborative pieces. The two images were then installed somewhere in the Bushwick area.

As for the imagery, it isn't really my cup of tea, but I do love the fact that these two artists' mutual disdain for the supremacy of commercial messages in our shared public spaces created a friendship that spans continents.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Super Hero Changing Station

Charlie beat us to the punch on this one...

VIA Urban Prankster

New York City has had a ton of phone booth art this fall. Lately it seems like you can’t go for a walk without seeing a great piece by an artist like Jordan Seiler. The above was done by Toronto’s Posterchild, who’s been hanging out in NYC quite a bit lately.

I love these unauthorized projects because they’re turning useless eyesores into art. There are certain city blocks in NY that have upwards of 10 public telephones. When is the last time anyone used a payphone? I understand their utility for those who can’t afford or happen to be without a cell phone, but really, do we need multiple phones on every corner? These structures are simply huts to cash in on advertising dollars, and they needlessly pollute the scenery of our streets.

Here’s a great NY Times article from 2007 that explains that pay phone advertising rakes in $62 million a year: As Billboards, Public Phones Always Work.

Also of note, you can see both Seiler and Posterchild, along with Jason Eppink and Specter, speak about their work on Friday, November 20 out in Astoria — details here.

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Friday, November 6, 2009

Seen On The Streets Of NY-Prayer Booth

VIA Wooster Collective

This NYC phonebooth takeover was found by Wooster Collective readers. It's always a pleasure to see people out on the streets making fantastic work. Considering a good portion of phonebooths in NY don't have working phones and are really just advertising frames, it is about time someone put them to use for something better.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

NY Ghost: How to Bake A Brownie

Yet another NY Ghost phone kiosk install is put up on the streets of NY, this time providing much needed information on how to bake a brownie. Wonder if it was intentional that this piece followed the one on how to smoke marijuana.

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Sunday, October 4, 2009

NY Ghost Hits The Street Again

New York Ghost has uped his game, taking stride with his newest street ad takeover. I love this piece. Kill it NY Ghost, you own the streets.

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Empty Phone Kiosks Abound

I don't know if anyone else has been noticing the lack of advertisements in the black Verizon phone kiosks around the city, but it seems to be universal. Many if not all phonekiosks that look like this have been empty for the past few days. Very strange.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

PosterChild New Work

What I believe to be Posterchild's first, and not last, phone kiosk install.

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

National Bestseller

National Bestseller is an ongoing project in collaboration with the outdoor advertising companies operating NYC phone kiosks, including VanWagner, and Titan Media. This recent image was put up on Broadway between Boerum and Union avenue in Brooklyn. Each piece is made up of one entire booked striped of its spine and pasted back together. Every 10th piece gets a treatment in red. Often attacking illegal advertiement in NYC, this project confronts legal ads on the street in an effort to express my interest in an advertisement free public space.

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Friday, August 21, 2009

National Bestseller

Judith Viorst's Necessary Losses is the second book in the National Bestseller project. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Winter Weave Popstrike Image

I was messing around for a magazine layout and created this image to highlight the colorful impact this piece had. I thought it was worth posting since it's a slow day over here.

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Night On The Town With NY Ghost

I met up with NY Ghost for the first time last Saturday. We walked around putting up posters for about 3 hours before we went our separate ways. These days I don't normally have a partner so it was nice for both of us to have a lookout and company. Our conversation mostly circled outdoor advertising and the city as a whole. It was wonderful to entertain a relationship built on a shared public experience. I highly suggest it.

This image is from a series I am starting called "National Bestseller". I use the every page from a popular title to make a single sheet that fills a phonebooth advertisement. Because the materials are so cheap, this project is about numbers. For every page you see that has red in it, there are 9 others out there that were put up without the red addition. Go out and get learned people!

This image was produced by NY Ghost and was placed at 14th street and 1st avenue on the NWC. It was a brazen spot considering there were police officers directly across the street but nonetheless proved accessible. This is the first image of NY Ghost's that really cathces my eye and I hope he keeps up the good work.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

New NY Ghost Phonebooth Takeover

This image was installed at 12th street and Avenue A on the North East corner. In case you don't know, NY Ghost contacted us regarding the instructional video on breaking into phonebooths and has been hitting the street since. Every time he hits the street he sends an image of his doings. We are meeting up tomorrow for some good old fashioned fun and to get to know yet another person in this incredibly large and wonderfully small city we live in.

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Test Posting Turns Into A Tag Team

For the longest time I have done phone kiosk pieces that are complicated, time consuming, and expensive. Recently I have been looking for a way to reduce my costs and increase my production. The piece below is made from a single paperback book purchased from Strand for 48 cents. This book is then relieved of its spine and the pages are wheat pasted back together. The test you see below is Tom Wolfe's, The Right Stuff.

PublicAdCampaign - 1st avenue between 12th and 13th street

After I posted this test, I sent it off to a friend of PublicAdCampaign and sure enough that evening New York Ghost posted on the opposite side of the kiosk. Despite us not knowing each other, NY Ghost and I are developing a wonderful public dialogue. I am hoping our work can begin to develop so that we are creating a more engaging dialogue instead of simply posting together. Only time will tell.

New York Ghost-1st avenue between 12th and 13th street

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

NY Ghost-11th & 3rd Avenue NWC

The instructional video available on how to re-appropriate phone kiosks is pretty simple to follow. What doesn't come as easy is the will, and social deviance required to follow through with the act. But trust me it's a blast, and if done right, is a relatively risk free way to put your put your own ideas into a space over run with other peoples. The recently coined NY Ghost went out and did his first takeover May 28th. He has returned to 11th & 3rd avenue (NWC).

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Instructional Video First Responder

A while back someone had some questions regarding the phone kiosk instructional video. There is nothing that makes me happier than being able to facilitate someone's direct interaction with their public space. This is all the more exciting when that individual decides to do that interacting over public advertising. I think this is the first example of someone who put the instructional video to good use. Enjoy, I know I am. Now get that cheese.....

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Frequent Reader Questions

I just received this email and wanted wish the person who sent it luck. This is what PublicAdCampaign is ultimately about for me. Promoting and facilitating the public's interest and involvement in their public space. Though this happens through the use of outdoor advertising venues and frames, it is about enjoying the act of creation in our shared public spaces.
Hi Jordan, I am a frequent reader of public access campaign, and enjoy reading your posts

i recently watched your video about replacing the ads on the sides of phone booths, and am interested in trying it myself

i have a cordless drill, and am buying an tamper-proof bit set.

i have 2 questions,

1: do you know the size the ads are (for the sides), or should I just open one up myself and measure it to be sure

2: have you ever been arrested doing this? im trying to gauge the likelihood of this you think its smarter to do it in the dark, total stealth mode, or be in clear daylight posing as a van wagner should only take like 30 seconds from start to finish im hoping...i plan on doing this around the east village...
have you ever had any trouble with undercover officers or people on the street getting pissed and confronting you?

thanks for your help man,

This is My Responses:
Fantastic! You should absolutely try it yourself. It is a wonderful way to spend an evening or afternoon becoming a more integral part of your city fabric. Please send me the results and I will post them immediately.

Answer 1:
The ads on the sides of NYC phone kiosks are 26'x50'. The ads on the back come in a few sizes depending on the type of kiosk they are in and should be measured accordingly. You can measure these without opening the kiosk, just add 1 inch to the length and height of the inside frame measurement.

Answer 2:
a) I have never been arrested doing advertising takeovers on the street. This does not mean it cannot, or will not happen. As you may or may not know, 4 people were arrested in the recent NYSAT project, although this was under special circumstances. When I have been stopped by NYPD, I have had to make an appearance before a judge. This appearance, all three times it has taken place, has resulted in 6 months of probation. Provided you are not caught committing similar acts within this 6 month period (which usually starts the day you were actually caught), your record is wiped clean.

b) The night or day question for me depends on one thing and that is whether or not the phone kiosk you are going to takeover is illuminated. You can obviously tell this easily at night, but if you are curious if a booth is illuminated during the day, simply cup your hands around your eyes and hold them tight to the kiosk. You will see the backliting this way, as the lights are not turned off or are on any sensor. If the booth is illuminated I would do your takeover during the day. Van Wagner and others do not, to my knowledge, replace ads during the night and an open illuminated kiosk is like a lighthouse, it can be seen for blocks. I have seen employees changing kiosk ads with and without safety vests so that choice is up to you. Provided the phonekiok is not illuminated, I would do things late at night.

c) Two of the Three times I have been stopped it was by undercover officers. Generally, people will pay little attention to what you are doing, unless you are removing a popular upcoming movie poster, in which case someone will probably ask you if they can have it.

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

NYC interactive

I guess the cat's out of the bag on this one so I might as well post it here too. This interactive piece was done by Joe Bernstien, and Ben Piven on the fine art of Subvertising. In it I install another weaving piece and Steve Lambert gives a brief explanation of his Ad Art Firefox hack. Thanks again to both of those guys for taking interest in our projects.

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Friday, February 6, 2009

Newest Winter Weave Phonebooth Install

Instead of taking a still of this one I thought I would shoot a little video so you could see the weave and the piece in it's environment. Black yellow and purple are my new favorite colors now that a regular commenter declared them the colors of fag. Real classy buddy.

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Winter Weave Easter Video

With all the activity around Poster Boy these days I haven't had a moment to post this video. I've been fielding an incredible amount of fan mail, legal offerings and in general, people who want to help or become a part of this movement. I am so excited to see the level of interest that PosterBoy has sparked in the public. It truly looks like a revolution. Wondering what the confluence of events that sparked all this may be, I came upon an interesting book, Lizabeth Cohen's, A Consumer's Republic. In it she discusses the political strength that came out of the consumer movement in the late 20's early 30's. It seems that a larger economic crisis like the great depression had forced consumers to stand up for themselves against a capitalist production system which had grown accustomed to taking advantage of them. Only in dismal economic times did people realize that they were standing by while larger corporations were making huge profits. I think it is safe to say that one of the motivating factors behind the public backing PosterBoy's activities with such fervor these days is this same sense of being taken advantage. If big business is gonna walk all over us, and outdoor advertising is one of those big businesses, we are going to fight back. It has become apparent that we aren't getting anything out of the current use of public space and it's making people stark raving mad.

January 29th I taught a class for some art students on media activism. By actually producing a piece in front of them I hope to give them both the tools and the confidence to be able to go out and re-imagine the public environment they live in on their own terms.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

New Winter Color Phone Booth Install

This piece went up at 13th street and 6th avenue today, January 29th, just a hundred feet off the avenue towards 5th. I had installed two of the sides late last night so that I would only need to install one side in front of the class of students I was talking to about art and practice in New York City. I'm very happy with the outcome, though its a little bright for my tastes. The weaving is a direction I'm enjoying. Its three dimensional nature makes it stand out from advertising which is always a concern when working within an advertising frame. The public has trained itself to ignore whatever content is shown in these spaces and I have to break that habit in order to convey my message.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Phone Booth Removal Instructional Video

This instructional video teaches you what you need to break into a phone booth, and how to do it. Remember it is illegal to tamper with private property even when it's in your public environment, assaulting your senses with messages you couldn't care less about for things you don't need.


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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Now Isn't That Nice

I recently began removing advertisements without putting anything back. This started around Christmas when I removed 50 ads as a gesture to the three illegal billboards LA received in their stocking this year. I have continued to remove ads without replacing them for a "how to" video involving phone kiosks that I am working on.

I noticed that every time I come back to a phone kiosk I left empty, the replacement ad is a public service announcement. It seems that the ad companies print a set amount of posters and once those run out the only thing to replace missing ads with is the overstock of public service announcements they have in the van.

Amazingly enough this fact has left several of the phone kiosks I worked on with all three sides bearing different public service posters. It seems here "The passion for destruction is a creative passion, too." Bakunin

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas New York

In the spirit of giving I went out yesterday and removed approximately 50 different ads from the streets, mostly Van Wagner Phone Kiosks. It's not much, but on the heals of LA getting three new illegal billboards for Christmas, I thought it would be a nice counter gesture.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Actions And Training

If anything, I've found that a single act of participation can ignite a lifetime of interaction in the public. With that in mind, as well as a large project I am cooking up with PosterBoy, I have realized the need to personally introduce people to the physical act of reclaiming public space. The invisible hand which seems to say that public interaction is off limits to the average citizen, is actually just that, invisible and ultimately non-existent. Once you have committed an act of social rearrangement you realize that you are truly free to do what you want with little to no consequence.

That said, a now friend of mine who we will call John, asked me how he could do his own public billboard advertisements illegally. I having never actually changed a billboard and thought the first step would be getting our hands dirty, realizing that with a little bit of fearlessness and the right tools you can pretty much do anything. We set out last Monday afternoon to tackle three of my favorite public advertising venues for takeover, public phone kiosks, NPA outdoor street level billboards, and subway platform advertisements. I produced two phone kiosk pieces, two subway platform pieces, and prepared the paint for two NPA outdoor ad removals.

The first thing we did was paint over the NPA ads, which John was slightly nervous about but finished without hesitation. The next ad we hit was a phone kiosk which he removed without batting an eye and on the downtown side of oncoming traffic. I explained that it was slightly more dangerous because a cop car driving up the street would be much more likely to stop him. He scoffed at the idea and removed the ad with me watching out. The last was the subway platform ads which he refused to do because it was mid afternoon. This was not such a bad call on his part because subway platforms are much less crowded late at night and you are less likely to see police. Nonetheless I showed him how it could be done and in the future I'm sure John would have no problem attempting this on his own.

If anyone has any interest in running through the gauntlet, I am more than happy to provide the tools and materials for a fun afternoon on the streets.

Two different phone kiosk pieces, one posted by each of us

(detail of first)

NPA outdoor site we both painted over

Subway platform install which I did and John filmed

Subway Platform detail

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

White On White Project

This is the 11th White on White piece located on the SWC of Spring street and Bowery for the second time. I put this one up in front of a class of PACE University students and i think they enjoyed watching the process.

More Here

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